Our main objectives are to assess the additional costs and benefits of the new EU regulations for traceability and labelling of GMOs in food and feed supply chains. Also, we investigate and describe the European consumers' attitudes to GM-labelling and identify the economy-wide impact of the consumers' reaction on the EU traceability and labelling regulations.
We will focus on hot spots both within elements and between elements in the supply and processing chains. An example of a hot spot could be the handling of crops at the elevator.
The handling of crops at the elevator is a very important hot spot including several elements like control of transport vehicles, documentation of lots, handling at reception and further handling within the elevator. These issues are of both technical and economic nature.
The implementation of the EU traceability and labelling regulation will of course add to the transaction costs between companies in the chain and the costs for analysis and labelling within the companies. However, we have to remember that in the EU we already have rather comprehensive food and feed documentation. Parts of the GM traceability and labelling will be able to be carried out within this framework – we are not introducing a totally new system.
This will add to the costs of these products, but we are not able to say how much at present. But a guess will be about the same magnitude as for vegetable food products.
We are not looking very much into who should pay the extra costs. In reality the market powers of the individual agents will decide how the extra costs and benefits are shared in the end.
In my opinion food and feed surveillance today have a high degree of reliability – which they should have – without the cost being prohibitive. Well organised and cost effective surveillance systems can offer high reliability at a reasonable cost level.
This is the question to be answered within the next year, we do not yet have our own results from the consumer survey on willingness to pay for non-GM products.
The benefits are still to be determined, but we talk about issues like more efficient sampling, control and traceability measures as a whole, optimisation of procedures and flows within the company and system, possibilities for entering new markets etc.
The overall benefit for the consumer is the freedom to choose between GM and non-GM products, and for the farmer it is the opportunity to choose which market to supply.
Hopefully the results from WP3 can help to design cost efficient traceability and labelling procedures which are both acceptable and practical for the producers and consumers.
We will publish our first results within the next year.